Oldest Family Firms In The South West

1794 – Palmers Brewery

In 1794, Dorset rope and net makers – the Grundy family – built the Old Brewery on the banks of the River Brit in Bridport.  Since then, there’s been non-stop brewing on this site.  Generations of Palmers have kept the brews bubbling!  In the late 19th century, two Palmers brothers – John Cleeves and Robert Henry – bought the brewery and gave it their names: JC & RH Palmer.  Today, their great grandsons, John and Cleeves Palmer, work in the company.  As Palmers Brewery, it remains among the best of independent brewers.

Then, the Old Brewery was thatched.  Today, parts are still.  Outside, the building has changed little in 100 years.  The water wheel, forged in 1879 at a Bridport foundry, still turns.  The high stone archway, which dominates the front facade, was built for use by traditional horse-drawn drays.  They delivered Palmers ales until the 1950’s when small lorries took their place.  These vehicles could negotiate the archway comfortably but today’s lorries have just inches to spare!

Externally the Old Brewery looks much the same as it has for 200 years. Inside, the 19th century screening machine is still in place, and used every day.  The traditional methods and the brewing process remain.  So does the focus on the finest ingredients to achieve distinctive flavours for fine ales.  But Palmers move with the times.  Their Head Brewer is tasked with implementing significant investment and efficiencies in the brewhouse.  Palmers are constantly blending those surviving values and traditions with 21st century science and systems.  Where Palmers use processes and ingredients that have stood the test of time, they do so because they are, quite simply, the best.  But to them, they add sparkling new equipment, upgraded production, and the very latest technologies.  Palmers do all this to ensure that fine draught ales continue to be synonymous with the Palmers name.

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